Multiple Myeloma; Symptoms, Diagnosis & Multiple Myeloma Treatment

B) Blood tests

Multiple myeloma diagnosis, Blood tests
Blood tests
  • Complete blood count: A complete blood count is the most basic of lab investigations and in multiple myeloma, it can show a decrease of all blood elements, a condition termed pancytopenia which, if combined with a normal sized spleen, almost always points towards an abnormally functioning bone marrow -due to plasma cells invasion-.
  • Coagulation tests: Coagulation tests are done to detect the effectiveness of your coagulation factors. As mentioned earlier, it can be affected, and this will result in a prolonged coagulation time.
  • Protein level: As mentioned above, a significant difference or “gap” between total protein and albumin levels reflect a high globulin level and could point towards multiple myeloma.
  • Kidney function tests: Urea and creatinine may be needed to check for kidney functions which may be impaired due to the monoclonal antibodies secreted by plasma cells, high uric acid levels or amyloidosis. Uric acid level is also essential especially in patients with symptoms of gouty arthritis.
  • Serum electrophoresis for proteins: One of the tests done in multiple myeloma is electrophoresis which is a physical process in which proteins in the blood are separated depending on their molecular weight and electric charge. This is then represented on a graph and a specific pattern of protein distribution is characteristic for multiple myeloma. This can also be followed by immunofixation which is another physical process where proteins are separated according to the shape of their surface using antibodies.
  • C reactive protein: C reactive protein is one of the inflammatory markers of the body and its measurement in cases of multiple myeloma can serve as a prognostic marker, which means that cases with high levels of CRP can be predicted to have a worse outcome and vice versa.